A heartbroken mum is desperately raising money to treat her adorable six-year-old girl who has an inoperable brain tumour which can’t be treated in the UK.
Nina Moran says daughter Erin was like “any other” little girl just three months ago – before going to the doctor complaining of a squint in her eye.
Within the space of just two weeks the schoolgirl’s speech became slurred and she was suffering pain in her right arm and leg, leading to more tests and an MRI.
On May 6, only two and a half weeks after first seeking medical attention, Erin was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG).
DIPG is the most fatal of all children’s brain cancers.
The average duration of survival after being diagnosed is less than one year, while about 10% of people survive at least two years after.
Since her diagnosis Erin’s health has deteriorated rapidly, meaning she can now no longer walk or feed herself without the help of her parents.
The Moran family, including dad Chris, 37, and oldest daughter Freya, 10, have so far raised over £50,000 to fund experimental treatment in Germany.
Erin flew to Frankfurt on Monday (July 20) to pick up a trial drug called ONC201 which, is hoped, will shrink the tumour, relieve symptoms and prolong her life.
Nina, who works as a nurse, said: “When Erin started feeling poorly we knew we were going to hear some bad news, but we never imagined anything like this.
“It was horrific, we didn’t expect her to be so seriously ill.
“To hear it was horrific, it’s not something you ever expect to hear as a parent.
“Since then Erin has deteriorated quite a lot, which is incredibly difficult to deal with.”
She added: “Despite everything Erin is still keeping her spirits up, she can have a laugh and enjoy herself.”
Nina, who lives with her family in Doncaster, South Yorks., said Erin’s favourite things to do before she was diagnosed were swimming and gymnastics.
She added: “Erin is a very feisty little girl, she knows what she wants and she will rarely do anything she doesn’t want to.
“She’s very bright and quite mature for her age too.”
Erin first noticed something was wrong on April 19, when she began squinting.
She was seen by an optician four days later and an urgent eye appointment and a CT scan was scheduled for April 24.
Experts initially thought they could rule out anything life-threatening, according to Nina, however on April 29 Erin developed slurred speech.
Nina and Chris took their daughter to A&E where but she was discharged a short time later, they say.
Within a matter of days, on May 3 and May 4, Erin felt weakness developing in her right arm and right leg.
She had another hospital eye appointment on May 5, where an MRI scan revealed a lesion on part of her brain stem known as the pons.
Just one day later the Moran family were given Erin’s devastating diagnosis.
DIPG tumours are high grade and grow quickly, which means that symptoms develop swiftly, over a short time-frame and can be disabling.
The tumour attacks the brain stem affecting breathing, body temperature, heart rate, eye movements and swallowing.
Surgery is not possible in the UK because of its rarity, with only around 30 youngsters diagnosed in Britain each year.
Erin has undergone radiotherapy at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, although it is still too early to tell how successful that treatment has been.
The family flew to Germany to pick up a trial drug, which has had greater success in shrinking the tumour and relieving symptoms in some cases.
The treatment is very expensive and the family are currently crowdfunding to pay for Erin’s treatment.
So far they have raised £51,000.
Donate to Erin by visiting: https://uk.gofundme.com/f/PleasehelpErinMoran